Mark Herring became the 48th attorney general of Virginia on Jan. 11, 2014. He is working to keep Virginia families safe in their communities and neighborhoods, providing legal services to the Commonwealth’s agencies, boards, commissions, colleges and universities, and fighting for justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.
As Attorney General, Mark has built a record of:
- Preparing the Commonwealth for emerging safety threats by dedicating resources and sharing expertise to fight child exploitation, human trafficking, heroin and dangerous synthetic drugs, gang violence, and a range of cyber-crimes that target Virginia children, consumers, and businesses. He has championed new laws to provide greater protections to victims and witnesses of domestic violence and violent crimes and is working to help Virginia colleges and universities reform the way they respond to reports of sexual assault.
- Fighting for the fundamental rights of all Virginians, becoming the first state Attorney General to argue successfully in federal court that a same-sex marriage ban violates citizens’ constitutional rights. He found that immigrant children who had played by the rules for years and acquired DACA status qualify for affordable in-state college tuition, an interpretation that was validated by federal immigration officials who subsequently offered similar guidance to other states. He also successfully fought in court to ensure Virginians continue to have access to healthcare discounts every other state’s residents get on the federal exchanges.
- Promoting a strong business environment by ensuring the laws of the Commonwealth are applied evenly and fairly so Virginia businesses can make the investments needed to succeed in the long term. He helped craft legislation to crack down on ‘patent trolls’ who tie up the courts and Virginia businesses with baseless lawsuits. He helped broker a significant agreement between the Commonwealth and the transportation network companies Uber and Lyft, making Virginia a national leader in protecting consumers while adapting to the new “sharing economy.”
- Protecting Virginia’s natural resources by making Virginia the first Chesapeake Bay state to defend our Bay cleanup plan from attacks by out-of-state special interests. He worked with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local officials to respond to a significant coal ash spill in the Dan River in Southside Virginia and helped secure a commitment from the responsible company to repair any damage. He also secured important commitments and water quality data from a large coal mining operation that was responsible for thousands of environmental violations in multiple states, including in Southwest Virginia.
- Modernizing and reforming the Office of Attorney General to give taxpayers the best value for their dollar, promote transparency and accountability, and update the use of technology. On his first day in office, he instituted a strict gift ban on himself, his family, and his employees, and required senior staffers to disclose their financial interests to help avoid any conflicts. He has also reformed the office’s use of outside counsel and handling of requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mark has lived most of his life in Loudoun County. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia, he graduated with honors from the University of Richmond School of Law before returning to Loudoun and establishing a successful law practice in Leesburg.
Mark got his start in public service as the town attorney for Lovettsville, and then was elected as a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Prior to serving as attorney general, he served eight years in the Senate of Virginia, representing parts of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, working to bring technology-based economic development to the Northern Virginia region, secure transportation funding for needed projects, and make both state and local governments more accountable to the citizens of Virginia.
He and his wife, Laura, have been married for 25 years. They have two children in college, daughter Peyton and son Tim. They are members of the Leesburg Presbyterian Church.